Upgrade MacBook more than 10 years old

It was the fall of my junior year when my aunt bought me my first laptop. A brand new MacBook Pro and I absolutely can’t believe it. Turns out, the same computer is still running nearly 10 years later; but is it running efficiently? With a little tenderness, love and care, the answer is proven to be YES.

Upgrading an old MacBook Pro might seem like an epic task, but it can be broken down into two categories: software optimization and hardware upgrade. This article will focus on software optimization and we will cover hardware upgrades in another article.

It’s important to note, if you have an older MacBook, you should NOT update the operating system to Mojave, there are many programs with compatibility and indexing problems. In most cases, you won’t even be allowed.

These 7 simple tasks will dramatically improve the speed and storage space on your MacBook Pro. Let’s get in.

6. Limited startup programs

Typically, the most common reason an older MacBook might take a long time to boot up is too many startup programs running in the background when the machine is first powered on. This is a simple fix and all you need to do is:

  • Make your way to System Preferences
  • Click Users & Groups
  • Click Login Items navigation
Login item in User & Group Settings

If you see anything in Login Items which you are not what started at launch, just click that and click minus (-) in the bottom right under where it says To hide apps when you sign in, select the checkbox in the Hide column next to the app. Disabling startup applications on startup increased my boot time significantly and it should help you too.

5. Clear your screen

A simple fix that you may not think about right away is to delete all the items that are taking up space on your Desktop. If there are too many items and folders, you can merge all those folders and files into a single folder that you can navigate somewhere other than your desktop.

I used to have files scattered all over my desktop and even merging them into 7 folders greatly improved my startup speed and runtime.

Clean Mac desktop

4. Delete large files

Another major known problem that causes older MacBooks is a fairly obvious one: large unwanted files that significantly slow down the performance of an older machine.

Usually, to ensure that the annoying ‘dead beach ball’ stays in its network cage, you’ll want to make sure at least 20% of your hard drive is free. To free up space, simply:

  • Click Apple logo at the top left of your screen
  • Option About this Mac
  • Towards Warehouse (third tab) and click Manage
  • From here you will see the largest files and delete them accordingly.
Internal storage menu About This Mac

If you’re running OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) or earlier, you won’t have Manage Unfortunately. In this case, open Finder, click All My Files in the left sidebar, and then sort by the Size column.

All my files are sorted by size

One important thing to note, iOS files on the left was created before iCloud worked as it does now. It’s an exact copy of an older iOS phone or device, which you should remove if iCloud is enabled because iCloud now does all that remotely.

It is also important to mention iTunes because old movies or podcasts take up a large amount of space, so if you’ve seen these, you might want to consider deleting them afterwards. After doing this, I freed about 30 gigs off my hard drive. ‘The dead ball on the beach is gone.

3. Clear cache

Clearing the system cache is something I haven’t done in a while and it has helped speed things up. To clear the system cache, simply:

  • Navigate your way to seeker
  • Are from To go at the top left of the screen, select Go to Folder at the bottom of the drop-down menu
  • To find the way to the cache directory, type exactly “~/Library/Caches” (without quotes)
  • Erase everything inside Caching
    folder. Any files your computer needs are automatically re-downloaded, so you don’t have to worry about deleting something important.
Selected cache folder Move to Trash

After doing this, you should restart your computer and you will notice a significant change if you have not cleared the cache before.

2. Turn off FileVault

Of all the tips I’ve seen to speed up an older MacBook Pro, this one made the most important change for me. FileVault is a built-in encryption feature in OSX that encrypts all the files and data on your computer.

If you’re not a high profile individual who needs a lot of security (like me), you won’t need to enable FileVault. To turn off this feature, you need to:

  • Towards System Preferences
  • Option Security & Privacy
  • Select tab FileVault
  • Click Lock up image at the bottom left of your window to allow changes to this setting, and enter your administrator password to confirm.
  • Option Turn off FileVault…
FileVault in Security & Privacy Settings

An important note for this process:

Decrypting your information will take a long time, so it’s important that you do this when you won’t need your laptop for a significant amount of time. I recommend doing this before bed as it is known to take 4 to 12 hours.

This tip makes the most important change for me because decrypted data takes less time to load. Disabling this also freed up 90.2 gigabytes of space for me, so I totally recommend it.

1. Reset SMC and NVRAM

Another very effective method to improve and upgrade MacBook performance is to reset the SMC and NVRAM. The SMC or System Management Controller is responsible for battery management, thermal management, and many other hardware management services.

Resetting this setting can help with overheating or battery issues you may be experiencing. NVRAM, or constant random access memory, is “the small amount of memory your Mac uses to store certain settings and access them quickly,” according to Apple support. Resetting this was extremely valuable to me because my hard drive is partitioned and NVRAM manipulates the boot disk settings.

Your MacBook setup will likely be different than mine, so are your reset options.

To reset the SMC you just:

  • Visit this link and find reset options for your particular machine

To reset NVRAM you just:

  • Visit this link and find reset options for your particular machine

Here are some optimizations you can do in OS X’s user interface. I hope this helps all of you extend the life of your beloved MacBook! To upgrade the hardware, remember to see my next article, we will replace the internal components of the machine to speed up the machine. If you have any questions, message me and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.